Saunier closing on Millar

Saunier Duval chief Mauro Gianetti has told procycling that he is confident of signing Britain's Dav

Saunier Duval chief Mauro Gianetti has told procycling that he is confident of signing Britain's Dav
PIC BY TIM DE WAELE MADRID - Following rumours earlier this week linking David Millar with Saunier Duval, the Spanish team's manager, Mauro Gianetti, has revealed that he could be "days away" from signing the former Cofidis rider. Speaking to procycling in Madrid on Friday, Gianetti said that he hoped to conclude negotiations with Millar's representatives next week. "As far as we're concerned, the deal is in place, and it should be a matter of days before something is signed," Gianetti told procycling. Asked to comment on speculation also linking Millar with Quick-Step, Liberty Seguros and Illes Balears, Gianetti commented: "We've been interested in Millar since before the Tour de France. Now we're very confident." Currently serving a two-year ban after confessing to EPO-use in June 2004, Millar will be eligible to return to action on June 23 next year, just nine days before the 2006 Tour de France kicks off with a seven-kilometre prologue in Strasbourg. The British road race championship on June 25 is likely to be the first race of his comeback and the only opportunity for Millar to prove his form ahead of the Grande Boucle. Not that this fazes Gianetti: "I don't see any reason why he shouldn't start the Tour next year. He is apparently already in reasonable condition and with his professionalism, he can be at the start of the Tour ready to fight for the yellow jersey in the prologue. The Tour is his race, after all." Gianetti has no concerns about Millar's ability to integrate himself into a Spanish team, either. "Our team is already very multinational, and I find that it's easier to work with lots of nationalities than with a majority of riders from one country. There's less jealousy. I also suspect that Millar didn't want to ride for a French team again." Reacting to Gianetti's comments this morning, Frances Millar, the rider's sister and manager, would confirm only that "David's legal team, who negotiate all of his contracts, are in contact with several teams."
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